My father called me yesterday evening to tell me about something he head on “Fresh Air.” Radio Personality Terry Gross interviewed David Gilbert about his new novel, “& Sons.” Gilbert made a comment that resonated with my father–that in today’s world of social media and constant communication, we are living “curated lives.”
What does Gilbert mean by this? Internet users are continually managing and reinventing themselves in the public eye. I find this to be true. In case you aren’t convinced, let’s do a case study: AmBran edition.
Facebook: I immediately untag unflattering pictures of myself and remove them from my profile. I make sure people haven’t written inappropriate things on my wall. And as any girl will tell you, I have spent hours upon hours finding the perfect profile picture. (“Does this make me look like I have a double chin? What kind of picture says ‘I want a boyfriend, but I don’t need a boyfriend?'”)
Still don’t believe me? Check out the gallery of past and present Facebook profile pictures below. I have captioned them all what I believe I was subconsciously trying to tell the world when I selected them as “worthy” to represent me to the entire internet.
Twitter: Many people think that Twitter is a place for young people to express whatever they are thinking. Some people do use it this way (I’m talking to you, @AmandaBynes!), but most people agonize for minutes about what to tweet or how to word something to sound as sophisticated as possible. For example, I am thinking a lot of things right now, in condensed tweet form: Picking up this work shift is boring, but I guess it means more $$! #workinggirl; Why are these ladies talking so loudly in the lobby? #shh; I have a headache…..ouch!. However, I do not go around posting every single thought on the internet, especially when I can come up with gems like “By far the most common species on display at the zoo is the “Pygmy Homo Sapien Chainus” or Kid on Leash, as it is commonly called.”
By far the most common species on display at the zoo is the “Pygmy Homo Sapien Chainus” or Kid on Leash, as it is commonly called.
— Amanda Brandt (@Amanda__Brandt) June 7, 2013
Foursquare: I do not check in everywhere I go; I only check in at “cool places,” like work (look how much of a hard worker I am!), home (I am hanging out at home!) and bars/restaurants/shops (I have disposable income! I like to have a good time! Hang out with me!).
This blog: I don’t write my deepest and darkest secrets on here. Rather, I struggle to find things to say and to write them in a manner that will delight an audience while improving my writing skills.
I believe that I, along with most tech-savvy people my age, are “constant curators.” . Does this make me look incredibly vain and self-important? Yes, but I can guarantee you most people are thinking the exact same things. Quite honestly, I feel like it is better this way. Figures such as Nefertiti, William Shakespeare and the Attilla the Hun had to wait for other people to interpret their actions and determine their contribution to society (which would be beauty queen, smarty pants and ruthless conqueror.) Me? I can do that every day, and help shape what image I portray to the universe. (It also may have helped that none of these people ever had the luxury of too multiple portraits to choose from.)
What do you think? Have you ever “curated” your Facebook page? (If you say no, I will know that you are lying. Everyone has done a purging before a job interview before.)